Jaguars out to avenge last season's sweep by Titans
The Jacksonville Jaguars gained a measure of revenge in Week 2 by toppling the team that beat them in the AFC Championship Game in January.
Bidding for their first 3-0 start since 2004, the Jaguars are out to avenge last year's season sweep at the hands of the Tennessee Titans (1-1) on Sunday when the AFC South rivals meet at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.
"Losing to a team twice, at their house and here, that wasn't cool," linebacker Myles Jack said of the Titans. "We're not too happy about that. That's obviously being talked about this week. The New England game (a 31-20 win by Jacksonville) was one thing, but this is a team that literally beat us twice in one year. We've got to fix that."
Blake Bortles has flashed the tools that could aid the Jaguars in accomplishing that goal, as he threw for 376 yards and four touchdowns in a 31-20 win over the Patriots on Sunday. An impressive performance to be certain, but Bortles isn't getting ahead of himself despite throwing for 1,280 yards, 11 touchdowns and one interception in his last four regular-season games at home.
"It's definitely a totally new year. We are a new team and this is a new season," Bortles said. "We won the division last year and got beat twice by (the Titans). It is the first divisional game and it's the divisional home opener, so it will definitely be an exciting one.
"Our goal and what we always talk about is winning the AFC South. This is obviously the first opportunity to start that, by beating Tennessee. We have our work cut out for us. It's a good defense. Offensively, we are going to have to be on point and have a good plan and execute it. We have a couple more days left of getting good preparation and getting ready to go on Sunday."
Second-year wide receiver Keelan Cole recorded a highlight-reel catch among his seven receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown versus New England. Cole also delivered the final key block that enabled fellow wide receiver Dede Westbrook to a complete a 61-yard scoring play in the fourth quarter on Sunday.
Cole and Westbrook were effective on the crossing routes over the middle to accumulate a combined 199 yards against the Patriots.
The Jaguars hope to have Leonard Fournette in the backfield after the second-year running back sat out last week's win with a hamstring injury.
The Titans have some questions themselves as quarterback Marcus Mariota remains at the mercy of a nerve injury that is causing weakness and numbness in his throwing hand.
"The way they explained it to me, is when you strum a guitar string. When that string settles down, that's kind of similar to the way my nerve is. My nerve has kind of been strummed and it's going to take a while to settle it down," Mariota told reporters.
Mariota sustained the injury in the season-opening loss to Miami. He was held out of last week's 20-17 win against the Houston Texans, giving way to backup Blaine Gabbert.
Gabbert, who was selected 10th overall in the 2011 draft by Jacksonville, completed 13-of-20 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown versus the Texans. The Titans' passing attack is ranked 25th in the NFL with an average of 201.5 yards per game.
Tennessee would be wise to lean on rugged running back Derrick Henry, who recorded 117 scrimmage yards -- including a 66-yard touchdown reception -- in the last meeting with the Jaguars.
Wide receiver Corey Davis has a team-leading 11 receptions this season heading into an encounter with outspoken cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Davis only had one reception for four yards on five targets against Jacksonville during an injury-plagued rookie last season.
"He's a great corner," Davis said of the Pro Bowl selection Ramsey. "He's consistent. To me, he's one of the best easily. He's long, he's fast. He can do it all. He plays the slot. He's versatile."
Dane Cruikshank receive AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors on Wednesday after reeling in a 66-yard touchdown pass from safety Kevin Byard.
Byard had a pair of interceptions in the last meeting with the Jaguars.
Updated September 20, 2018